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Digital Transformation Strategies for Meijer Supermarket Chain in the Post-COVID Era

Overview about business

Digital disruption has become a huge opportunity for large industries as well as small and medium-sized organisations. Covid 19 pandemic has massively affected most of the organizations in the world, and the fluctuation in the world economy has further increased the challenges for the companies. In the current post covid situation, the companies are trying to recover from the loss and find new opportunities to return to the normal profit. In this study, the popular supermarket chain of USA Meijer has been chosen to better understand the need and possibilities of digitally transforming the business. The study will critically analyse the company and recommend suitable business strategies to reduce the risks in strategy.

1.Where are we now?
 Overview about business 
Meijer is a well-known retail company in the USA that operates almost 259 supermarkets and hypermarkets in different areas. The company was established in 1934 by Hendrik Meijer and had been operating for the last 87 years. The company's headquarters is settled in Walker, Michigan, the US and the CEO and President of the company is Rick Keyes. Most of the company's stores are in Michigan, and the company also operates its stores in Indians, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois (Meijer, 2021). The company has been ranked 19 in the list of "America's Largest Private Companies" by Forbes magazine, 2015 and 19 among 35 largest private companies of the US in 2008 by Fortune's magazine. The company mainly sells products like footwear, groceries, furniture, sporting clothing, gasoline, beauty products, electronics, beddings, pet supplies, and housewares.
Vision and mission 
As the originator of the "one-stop shopping" idea, they provide exceptional customer experience, cheap pricing, high-quality goods, and a wide variety of regional and Meijer brand merchandise. Nearly 30 years later, his son, Fred, developed the country's first supercenter, laying the groundwork for who they are present: worth billions of dollars retail household name (Meijer, 2021). Meijer's tagline is "Greater Quality, Fewer Costs," yet their pickup lanes are more like "Higher Sweet, Fewer Nourishment." According to Meijer's webpage, one of their fundamental values is to provide "items and assistance to support our customers lead better lifestyles."
Competitive advantage 
In order to analyse the competitive advantage of the company, determining the competitors is the first step. Meijer can identify the competitors by determining the range of alternative products offered by the other companies. Apart from that, understanding the existing and potential customers can also help the company to identify its competitive advantage. Meijer needs to keep in mind that providing value for money products cannot be a lifetime solution, proper customer service, uniquely providing service, and other strategies also play a vital role in gaining competitive advantage (Koçyi?it, and Tabak,  2020). Conclusion: There are many giant supermarket chains like Tesco, Walmart, and others that also provide similar products and services and have a vast customer base. Digital transformation can help the company gain a great extent of competitive advantage as most companies are now struggling to convert their traditional business system digitally.
Digital transformation business value
Digital transformation has a considerable level of business value because of different necessities, changing trends, particularly the pandemic situation, and making the business system futuristic (Chanias et al., 2019). In the traditional sense, digital transformation means using modern Internet-based technologies and innovative ideas more efficiently and economically of value creation. Implementing a proper strategy of digital transformation can help Meijer to enhance its business value through the following aspects,
?Digital transformation can significantly reduce the cost of Communication. For example, Meijer can cut the cost of interactions and exchanges through digital payments and online interaction methods. Moreover, father mode, using proper information technology, can minimise data as the symmetry between different players in the market.
?Digital transformation will also make everything way faster and accurate as well. All the processes can be monitored, analysed and recorded using just some software and technologies. As a result, the time of these processes will be drastically reduced, and the company may focus on different fields of the company to improve in the saved time.
?In today's world, most people are into social media and spend much time there. Meijer can use this to promote its products and services and attract customers' eyes online.
?During the lockdown, most supermarkets and hypermarkets were closed entirely and providing online-based home delivery can only be the solution to continue the business (Reis et al., 2018). Digital transformation can be the saviour of this kind of situation.
?Getting customer feedback and reviews through online platforms also makes the system more fluid for the customers and for the company to monitor their reviews.
SWOT analysis
In order to formulate a proper business strategy, identifying the weakness and strengths is necessary. In that case, the SWOT analysis model can help.

Vision and mission

Strength    Weakness    Opportunity    Threats
1.In terms of strength, the company has a significant market value as an ancient company operating a business in Michigan for the last 87 years.
2.Another thing is the number of stores the company currently operates. The local customers in different cities like Michigan, Kentucky and so on enjoy the services from the company easily because of the 250+ stores. 
3.Meijer is one of the largest supermarket chains and groceries in the United States.
4.Father mode, the company has also taken part in different corporate social responsibilities and employed more than 80 thousand employees.    1. In terms of weaknesses, the Company provides its product and services in a very small area.

2.Because of that, the company does not earn that much revenue that its competitors like Walmart, Kroger gain.

3.Another weakness of the company is that it does not have the latest innovative technologies and digital presence that other retail organisations currently have.     1.In terms of opportunities, the company has a long list of opportunities. Among those, the expansion of market opportunity comes first. The company has great potential to expand its business operations internationally. 

2.On the other hand, the company may also provide a wide range of products and services to the customers to attract customers of all requirements. 
3.Digital disruption is also an excellent opportunity for the company to transform its business system into an online facility.     1.The United States has some of the most popular retail and grocery industries ruling the entire marketplace like Walmart, Fry's and Remke. For that reason, the company may face some tough competition.

2. On the other hand, the list of videos for the new entrance opens the app to enter the retail industry and enhance the competition level. 

3.The company does not have any unique business strategy because most of the customers have very low switching costs.
2.2. Where are we going?

Problem statement and gap analysis
The main issue of this study is to identify the opportunities for Meijer to transform digitally. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the United States' retail industry hard, digital transformation has become the only way to recover. Erica Marie from the post-Covid situation and digital disruption can lead the company to gain a huge level of competitive advantage in the market. This is an excellent opportunity to increase profit and expand the business system to a broader area and a larger customer base.
Business strategy models that respond to disruption
In terms of implementing digital transformation or disruption technologies within the business system, Beauty has many business models that the company may integrate with the organisational system. For example, the subscription model can lead the organisation to gain a paid subscriber or customer base. On the other hand, there are also different models like the marketplace model, hypermarket model, etc. The company can use the hypermarket model mainly because of its product range and service offerings. Currently, this business model is used by great online retail industries like Amazon and Apple (thunderbird, 2021). This disruption can be implemented within the organisation through brand bonding utilising sheer market power. Another business model is the pyramid model used by different online business companies like Microsoft and Amazon. In this business model, the company has to disrupt by affiliating a commission-only model.

Figure 1: Digital transformation pyramid model
(Source: thedigitaltransformationpeople, 2021)
The company's main goals will be to increase revenue sales through digital transformation and provide products and services to a broader customer base. In addition, Meijer will optimise its organisational operations and processes using digital transformation strategy. In the initial stages of applying digital transformation strategy, the company will convert all the company's information into code and then focus on developing an agile business structure. On the other hand, in the top competition by global organisations, digital transformation will allow the company to increase its competitive advantage to a higher level. Besides that, the company can also aim to improve the overall customer satisfaction level through digital technologies.
SMART objectives 
Smart objectives refer to five main factors to obtain proper organisational goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. 
Specific: the company can get a particular number of online customers through the digital transformation. 
Measurable: this invention can also be measured through the different analytical tools available from digital service providers.  
Actionable: the company may seek new action plans such as delivering products and services to the customers' doors by an online booking system.  The company will also have to formulate a proper communication plan in this context where all the meetings and procedures will be included.
Relevant: Meijer also has to identify the risk and challenges relevant to the digital transformation goals using the different digital technologies. 
Time schedule: For each action or planning, Meijer has to create a proper time schedule that has to be maintained to get more accurate information and expected outcomes.

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